“Sure go on, it’s Christmas…” is probably the most frequently used “get out of jail free” card over the festive season.
However, finding it hard to say no can have its consequences, particularly on the digestive system with bloating and indigestion being common occurrences over Christmas.
Bloating is caused by an excess gas production and/or disturbances in the movement of digestive muscles after eating- leading to that swollen, uncomfortable and often painful feeling. Bloating is particularly prevalent over “silly season” as people tend to over-indulge more than usual – especially with foods high in sugar and fat. It is important to remember that often our eyes are bigger than our bellies, but that we also shouldn’t feel guilty about eating foods that we enjoy either; everything in moderation as they say!
The top tips that I would recommend to reduce bloating are:
To avoid eating large volumes in one sitting – eating little and often can avoid the “stuffed” feeling and allows you to control portions better.
Drink plenty of water- this prevents water retention in the body and also prevents constipation. This is especially beneficial over Christmas, as alcohol can increase the rate of water retention!
Remember to ensure your fibre intake is still sufficient around this period too, as this also helps to prevent bloating and constipation.
Limit “trigger foods” as much as possible, for some people these can be: onions, garlic, broccoli or dairy products.
I would always recommend peppermint tea for bloating as it naturally alleviates cramping and gas while also promoting digestion.
A hot water bottle is also a good idea to ease the discomfort of bloating. The heat can soothe the tummy and help relieve the build up of gas.
Exercise can also help banish the bloat, even if it’s a quick walk to get you up and about!
If you are in need of any medicinal remedies, I would always recommend Gaviscon® Advance or Nexium® for indigestion/heart burn and Senocalm/ Rennie® Deflatine to reduce bloating and cramping. However, it is important that you speak to a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team so they can cater their expert advice to you.
Remember, if you are suffering from stomach upset long term or are experiencing other unusual symptoms such as blood in your stools it is essential that you speak to your GP.
Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy
These Middle Eastern inspired turkey skewers are ideal for a summer barbecue or picnic, and can be packed into lunch boxes for a work week lunch served with grilled pitta breads, fresh leafy greens and gut-loving kimchi (fermented vegetables). The recipe makes between two and four servings as a light lunch or larger meal. Serving suggestions are optional of course so free to improvise. A big green salad, fresh hummus, and a bowl of tabbouleh (a herby salad made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, lots of fresh mint and parsley) are great healthy options for a summer feast!
Nutrition: High Protein, Low Fat, Low Saturated Fat
Free From: Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Refined Sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Juice and rind of half a large lemon
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of dried or finely chopped oregano
A good pinch of sea salt
3 large skinless turkey breasts cut into strips
6 wooden or metal skewers
2 tbsp light tahini
2 tbsp water
Juice of 1 whole lemon
A good pinch of sea salt
1 garlic clove peeled
Rocket leaves, diced cucumber, kimchi, grilled pitta pockets or flatbreads.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in cool water whilst marinading the turkey (about 20 mins).
In a large mixing bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind, cumin, oregano and sea salt. Add the turkey strips and mix to combine. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
Preheat the grill or barbecue to a medium temperature. Remove the turkey from the marinade and thread onto the six skewers (you can discard the marinade).
Place the skewers directly onto the barbecue grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes until cooked and slightly charred.
To make the dip, put the tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and garlic into a small blender and pulse until combined (or whisk together with a fork, making sure to chop and crush the garlic into a paste with the back of a knife first). The dip should have a yogurt-like consistency.
Transfer the dip to a bowl. Remove the turkey skewers from the grill and transfer to a plate lined with parchment.
Serve with grilled pitta pockets or flatbreads (if coeliac or gluten-intolerant you can buy gluten free pittas in most supermarkets), piles of fresh rocket leaves, some fermented vegetables like kimchi or finely diced cucumber.